Blogging Idol: We Have a Winner!

By Daniel Scocco

All right folks, it was an intense July for me and I am sure for all the competitors, but we are finally at the end of it. Hopefully it was also a funny experience for everyone involved, include our readers who followed the contest.

blogging idol

The Weekly Updates

We had weekly updates during the past month, where we discussed the general developments and where competitors shared their strategies, so if you missed any here are the links:

The Sponsors

I would like to lay a final thank you for the sponsors who donated money and prizes for the contest.

And the winner is…

Most competitors ended up with a healthy increase on their number of subscribers, so an extended congratulation goes to all of them.

Then we also had some blogs that performed particularly well. Romeuy.com was disqualified due to offering downloads (for which he didn’t have the copyrights) in exchange of people subscribing. It was a mistake not done on purpose though, and his gain in RSS subscribers was outstanding nevertheless. He started the competition with 759 subscribers and ended it with 2386.

His strategy was to use keyword research and SEO to make his posts rank high on search engines, and then to place a highly customized email subscription form on each of the posts that were receiving organic traffic. Quite clever, and he said he will be back on the second edition to win!

WinningTheWeb.com was another surprise. The blog stayed with a flat number of RSS subscribers thought out the month (hovering at 950), and then 2 days his feed count suddenly jumped to 1500. Basically he was working promoting his Aweber newsletter, and 2 days ago he activated the Blog Broadcast feature, transforming those subscribers into RSS subscribers as well. He almost took the prize, having 8 fewer subscribers than the leader. That was close!

So the winner of the first Blogging Idol is Abhijeet from http://www.stockmarketindia.net/

He started the competition with 953 subscribers, and ended with 1538, an increase of 585 subscribers. Some people claimed that perhaps he was cheating, especially because his blog shows fewer hits than subscribers. Well I did some research and it looks like he is clean.

He had been gaining around 250 RSS subscribers every month for the past 4 months already, so a 580 increase is not impossible considering he had an extra inventive on July. Additionally, I also had access to his Feedburner stats and to the complete list of his email subscribers. It all looked fine.

So what strategy did the author use? His blog covers stock market tips, buy calls and similar, so he leveraged that content to get email subscribers. The first tactic that he employed was to increase the post volume (to 2-3 per day) and to include a huge email subscription box on top of the content column.

Secondly he emailed several Google and Yahoo! finance groups with extensive stock market reports, and inside those reports he inserted a very explicit link to his Feedburner email subscription. The link encouraged people to click to receive free stock market updates and tips.

Looks like it worked quite well!

What do you want to see on the next Blogging Idol?

I had a great time with the first Blogging Idol contest, and I think that the participants and readers did as well. Within a couple of months we will have a second edition therefore.

There were some flaws on the first competition, and I won’t deny. But it was a good learning experience nonetheless, and hopefully we will fix the problems in the future.

The question then becomes: what do you want to see on the next Blogging Idol? That is, what factors do you think we should use to measure the winner? What kind of blogs should be allowed to participate? How many competitors?

Here is one idea that I am considering: limit the participation to 10 or 20 big and established blogs. Use 4 factors to decide the winner:

1. Traffic from Google Analytics (participants must give me access to it).
2. RSS subscriber gain
3. Technorati rank increase
4. Voting from the readers

I know that each of those factors can still be gamed, but combined it would be much less effective for someone trying to. For example someone would need to spend a lot of time to cheat the RSS subscriber numbers, but this would not help him with the other 3 factors, so he could still end up losing.

What do you suggest?



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62 Responses to “Blogging Idol: We Have a Winner!”

  • Stock Market Informer

    Whenever I look at my blog subscribers count increasing, I remember this contest. This contest happened to be an inspiration to me over these past months.

    In meantime, I had visited here in Sept 08, when I had 1900 subscribers. Now my blog grew up to 4600 subscribers at start of Feb 2010. Just wanted to share this growth with you.

  • LVD Maxus

    I just check the latest feed number by using Feedburner api. Since the api shows that the feed count on 31 July is not released yet, so, I donÒ€ℒt think this final results are official.

  • Matej

    http://romeuy.com/ is still doing great, good for him!

  • Stock Market Informer

    The blog’s growth story continued with addition of 382 new subscribers in August month taking the subscriber count to 1900 by end of August’08 month.

  • SEO Genius

    Nice one, well i new i would not win but still great to particpate congrats to the winner.

  • Life is Colourful

    Are you gonna post about the results, Jim @ netfool – we would be interested to read your blog post on this.

  • The Blogger Tips

    Congratulation to the winner and organizer. This is pretty new contest in blogging world. Creative!

  • The Net Fool

    Congratulations to the winner!

    Anyone have the final numbers for this one? I would imagine that I finished in the top of the mix with an increase from 333 to 547 (+214) subscribers in July. This was definitely a great motivator, so a big thanks for hosting the competition πŸ™‚

  • Stock Market Informer

    Thanks everyone for your sweet wishes! The feedburner chicklet is showing a good increase in new subscribers on last day of month too.

    I think stockmarketindia certainly made No. 1 by increase of 635 in the contest considering the feedcount dated 31st from Feedburner.

    My friend, Gyutae, on 31st July is from 936 to 1502 i.e. 566.

  • Stock Market Informer

    Thanks everyone for your sweet wishes! The feedburner chicklet is showing a good increase in new subscribers on last day of month too.

    http://api.feedburner.com/awareness/1.0/GetFeedData?uri=stockmarketindiaupdates&dates=2008-07-31

    I think it was certainly made No. 1 increase in the contest i.e. 635.

    My friend, Gyutae, on 31st July is from 936 to 1502 i.e. 566.

    http://api.feedburner.com/awareness/1.0/GetFeedData?uri=winningtheweb&dates=2008-07-31

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Jacky, we can also use increase on technorati authority instead.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @John, the contest would end on July 31 midnight, no matter what Feedburner was reporting on that day and hour.

    I know Feedburner is one day behind, but that was the same for all competitors so it made no difference.

  • John

    Shouldn’t you have waited until Aug 1 to report the totals? Feedburner is a day behind, so the July 31 numbers didn’t come out until today. We went from 445 to 687, a gain of 242. I think that’s very respectable.

  • Jacky Supit

    If you really would like to use those 4 factors for the coming contest, then i guest i would not be able to take any part again.

    how many increase i would get for my technorati rank? since i have been on the top 50 already πŸ˜€

    will keep wishing u great with ur contest anyway

  • Ben Moreno

    I think there is an advantage for people who already have hundreds of subscribers. I think the next contest should be with blogs who only have 50 or less subscribers instead of 1000.

    What do you think folks?

  • big jason

    @Daniel I’m just giving gyutae a hard time. was a very sneaky and ingenius tactic. he played possum with me and everyone else very well. i’m impressed. congrats to Abhijeet and Gyutae

  • Adam Pieniazek

    Congratulations Abhijeet! The contest was fun and informative so thanks to you Daniel for hosting it. I like the idea of everyone starting fresh and starting a whole new blog for next time. We might be even more inclined to come up with creative new ways for obtaining RSS subscribers if our established blogs reputations weren’t at risk!

  • Ultimate Blogging Experiment

    The blogging Idol was one of the more successful contests I have seen. There are things you can always change but the way people have talked about this contest you know you did a lot right. If I was you I would only make minimal changes.

  • Mr. Javo

    This was a great contest, I really enjoy it. It helped me to increase the number of subscribers… Congrats for the winner!

  • Winning Startups

    Thanks for the great contest opportunity Daniel. I love it that you were trying to help us little guys, but it may be more beneficial to you personally to deal with larger blogs next time. You’d get links from higher pageranked sites and if those larger blogs posted about the contest your traffic would probably go up exponentially.

  • Debby Phillips

    Congratulations to the winner! The contest was fun and other bloggers were trying to help me win by posting about it on their blogs.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Siong, I am GMT -5 I think. Shouldn’t make a different though.

    @Big Jason, I only allowed Guytae to use the aweber subscribers he gained in July as well. If he had used his previus subscribers and converted those into RSS that would have been considered black hat.

    I talked a lot with him about that.

  • big jason

    finally updated with 481, so it looks like I was 2nd if you take Gyutae gaming the system with aweber into account πŸ˜‰ lol. if I didnt hate aweber so much, I would have increased my count by 2000+. but hey, its allowed, so no worries

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